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Unplugged: No More Game of Hide-and-Seek for Consumers


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View Jonathan Wiener's blog posts
04 January 2013, 10:53 AM
Online shoppers should more easily find energy efficiency information

If you are one of the millions of American consumers who shop or browse online for major appliances and would like to know the environmental impact your new purchase will have, we’ve got some good news. The Federal Trade Commission has finally updated its newly named Energy Labeling Rule to make it easier for you to compare models and to know the energy consumption (and operating cost) of new products.

Under the old rule, consumers had to fish around in unlikely places and hope to get lucky looking for this information. Now retailers will display it right next to the product photo and purchase price (like in the example at left), and manufacturers will also make it available on their own websites.

Earthjustice—on behalf of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Consumers Union and Public Citizen—petitioned FTC to make this change so that online consumers would have the same right to information as shoppers at brick-and-mortar stores. As the 10,000 of you who urged FTC to grant the petition made clear, these disclosures are increasingly important as more consumers do more of their shopping and research online.

More work remains to be done. FTC’s announcement on Monday did nothing to fix many of the rule’s other shortcomings.

With your help, Earthjustice will continue to lead the effort to improve and enforce the labeling rule. In the meantime, let’s enjoy a victory to begin the New Year. Thanks to everyone who made it happen.

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